Maria Mar’s Local Radar: Nine Eighteen, Creeptones & Easy Company

Locals, we meet again. I’ve found a few groups that I am just being introduced to that may not be brand new on the scene, but they are new to my ears. With three completely different sounds, each one of these acts is making their mark on the map of the scene. It’s always nice to receive band referrals—bands recommending other bands, which shows a sense of unity amongst a sometimes competitive industry. This week, I will rant and rave about Nine Eighteen, Creeptones and Easy Company. They all have new music under their belts, shows booked, and it’s time to celebrate in style. Now some of you may already know of these acts, but for others, welcome aboard; it’s going to be a smooth ride. These groups reached out to me, and their persistence, along with their undeniable talent, got my attention, and will now get yours.

Nine Eighteen are a punk outfit from New Jersey that said they had heard of Jersey Rock from some local band friends of theirs including Almost There and The Downrights. They recently released a new EP, Nine Eighteen Meets World, which made me an instant fan. Ironically enough, they have a track entitled “Topanga,” which exemplifies not only their talent, but also their immense sense of humor. I mean, come on, who wasn’t in love with Topanga? However, although they make jokes, it’s obvious that these guys have a serious side to them, for they seem to be in this music thing for the long haul. They play shows with performers of different genres, striving to increase a broad fanbase. While there are lots of bands combining punk and pop nowadays, Nine Eighteen seem to have a special aptitude for throwing in intense hooks without diluting the music’s punk-ish aggression. In simpler terms, they are unique. They exemplify the kind of music that is anti-establishment against institutional authority and the normal conventions of society. Looking at their pictures, they seem like a fun bunch of guys that I am looking forward to working with! I have heard nothing but good things about their live set, and cannot wait until they hit a venue near here. Check them out.

Carmine, Will, Johnny, Tom and Nicola make up a five-piece act from Toms River going by the name of Creeptones. I was initially intrigued by their name, for they reached out to me about a contest they were participating in that could be huge for their careers. On a side note, check out their page and help them get there. This seems like a contest that could change their lives and really jumpstart their careers! This great band will definitely be getting some airtime on my show, as they are well worth a listen. Here you will find great guitar work along with a drummer and bass player that together create a great groove and are as tight as a pair of skinny jeans. Just from the few tracks I have heard, I can tell their music has a lot of energy, great lyrics, and a profound sense of emotion. I found it extremely interesting when I read that they had originally started out as a duo, for they have such a full sound. Sometimes you wonder how far back the history goes and what may have influenced their decision to do so. However, choosing to expand was the right move, in my opinion. A recommended track for first listen would be “Kid Indigo,” a tune that I’ve had on repeat for days. Creeptones have a cult following down in the Toms River area, but I have a feeling that they will surely be inching their way into national status.

Lastly, Easy Company are a four-piece modern rock group hailing from Glen Rock and Pequannock. If you are unfamiliar with them, I don’t think it would do any justice to say what other artists they sound like; they are their own band even though in my opinion, they wear some of their influences on their sleeves in the best way possible. Continuing off the excitement of their recently released EP, Two Point Oh, they got my attention by sending me a message with a link to their material. I have yet to see this band live, but the feeling I am getting from their recordings shows that they are all about being free, celebrating the little things in life and playing music out of the pure love of it. This EP is realistically one of those albums where you almost feel somewhat torn; a part of me wants to call up some of my friends and let them know about this band, while at the same time I want to keep them my best-kept secret. I’d have to say my favorite track is “Old Friend.” It tells a story that I’d love to finish. Easy Company inject their own flavor into the vein of the modern rock and roll formula with unique vocals and fresh materials that are a great listen for fans of all genres. They’re living up to the legacy of New Jersey musicianship and have just announced a fresh batch of dates for the summer, so be sure to hit up one of their stops!

So here are three bands that may not necessarily be new to you, but are fresh on my radar. While they may all be from different zip codes, they share a common bond: making music and pursuing their dreams. Hopefully you will pick up their music, get out to their shows, follow their social media sites, and get involved and see what these local musicians have to offer. Who knows, maybe after this issue they will all play together. I mean, why not? Just throwing it out there! I will be back next week with some hot talent for your liking, and thanks to everyone who’s been posting groups and press releases on my socials to spread the word about some upcoming events! Until next week, my friends, get off your butts and support the scene. We’re all in this together!